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National Visual Arts Gallery, Balai Seni Visual Negara

Balai_Seni_Lukis_Negara national art malaysia

The National Visual Arts Gallery has undergone various changes in the past decade. Besides having a name change, it has grown in its effort in representing Malaysian art to the world.

National Art space and advocate

Tha Natioanl Visual Arts Gallery or Balai Seni Visual Negara (often referred to as Balai in short), is the official Malaysia’s art venue. This is the place for exhibitions and art-related workshops are held.

A prominent art space

With such a large space spanning out several floors, the National Visual Arts Gallery holds many shows throughout the year. Located along Jalan Tun Razak, it has a prominent address which is convenient among some of the top tourists spots in the Klang Valley.

Exhibitions and shows are held all the time. Apart from that, it is responsible in bringing Malaysian art to the general public through related activities. This includes events like art exchange programmes, residency and seminars, among others.

Besides that, the National Visual Arts Gallery is imperative in ensuring and promoting Malaysian art through education, policy making while being the host of some of the top art competitions in the region. This is done through partnerships and other collaborations.

The National Visual Arts Gallery, or Balai Seni Visual Negara has undergone various changes in the past decade. Besides having a name change, it has grown in its effort in representing Malaysian art to the world, hosting some of the most exciting exhibitions by artists around the region.

Official Arts Centre

Often referred to just ‘Balai’ in short by local artists, the official art venue houses all types of art-related activities and programmes. Within the unique looking building are several exhibition halls that span across several floors. It is located along Jalan Tun Razak with a prominent address which is convenient among some of the top tourists spots in the Klang Valley.

Heritage and History

Balai (NVAG) has been around for more than half a century now. It came about through the idea put forth by the then Malaya Arts Council around 1954. Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard and Frank Sullivan were the prominent figures responsible for bringing this idea to reality.

When it started, the gallery was held in Jalan Ampang which was then officiated by the first Malaysian Prime Minister YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. In 1978 meanwhile, it was known as the Muzium Seni Negara or National Arts Museum.

It was in 1998 when it moved to Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak which would be its current landmark. It was known as the National Art Gallery or Balai Seni Lukis Negara which would then be officiated by YAB Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister at that time.

The gallery then changed its name to National Visual Arts Gallery in 2011 after the launch of the National Visual Arts Development Board Act 2011.

Crucial Development Role

Under the act, the NVAG increased its responsibilities besides hosting and promoting art. It plays a critical role in the development of the national visual arts industry of Malaysia. This is done through programmes and initiatives where necessary while required assistance will be provided as well.

Apart from conventional visual arts, NVAG’s involvement transcends further to other art forms such as multimedia, photography and such. It now operates through a wider network that spans across the entire nation and not just in Kuala Lumpur (as stipulated in the previous jurisdiction).

Innovation and Creativity

The outside part of the National Visual Arts Gallery building exudes the architecture that adopts the Malay motifs. Within the interiors, one will notice the Guggenheim museum styles with its spiralling movements.

This is where some of the top and most celebrated Malaysian artists have had their works shown including the likes of Wong Hoi Cheong, Khalil Ibrahim and Zulkifli Moh’d Dohalan, to name a few.

Exhibition and education

Exhibitions and shows are held all the time at the few galleries operating inside the NVAB. The NVAB is responsible for bringing Malaysian art to the general public through seminars, art talks, workshops and fairs. To help in growing the Malaysian art scene, NVAB organizes and collaborates with related parties that includes events such as art exchange programmes and artist residencies, among others.

Besides that, the National Visual Arts Gallery is imperative in ensuring and promoting Malaysian art through education, policy making while being the host of some of the top art competitions in the region, offering the platform for both established and emerging artists the avenue to showcase their bodies of work.

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